MYRTLE BEACH -- Blythewood's Richard Mounce was named the 2007 Mr. Football in South Carolina on Friday. Mounce, a senior quarterback, picked up his award at the Regions Bank North-South Awards Ceremony at Myrtle Beach High School.
"It feels good to win Mr. Football considering all the great players who were nominated,'' Mounce said. "I'm a little surprised because I figured A.J. (Green) or Daquan (Bowers) might win.
"When it was announced that the award would go to the person who meant more to his team, I felt I might get it.''
Mounce, 6-0 and 190, led his Bengals team to a 10-0 record this season, but Blythewood was on probation and was not allowed to participate in the Class AAA playoffs. Last year, Blythewood's first of varsity football, Mounce led the Bengals to a 14-1 record and the school's first state championship. He threw nine touchdown passes last season in a playoff game.
This year, Mounce passed for 2,416 yards and 34 touchdowns, with only two interceptions. He had a little under 700 yards rushing and added seven touchdowns on the ground.
"Winning this award takes a little of the edge off us missing the playoffs,'' Mounce said. "We had a great season anyway, and winning this award is a great honor. My state championship game is next Friday in Spartanburg.''
In winning the award, Mounce beat out an impressive field of players that included Bruce Taylor (LB, Myrtle Beach); Everett Dawkins (DL, Byrnes); Bowers (DL-RB-KR, Bamberg-Ehrhardt); Green (WR, Summerville); Dalton Freeman (OL-DL, Pelion); Gene McCaskill (QB-RB-WR, Chester); and Michael Ruff (QB-RB-WR-DB, Whitmire).
The Mr. Football award was started in 1995 and each year it has been presented the night before the annual North-South game. Since its inception, quarterbacks have won six times. Mounce made it two in a row for signal-callers. Gaffney's Malcolm Long was named Mr. Football last year. Mr. Football in South Carolina is chosen by a select panel of coaches and administrators from around the state. The recipient must have outstanding ability on the field and demonstrate good character, acceptable scholarship and leadership qualities off the field.
Mounce will report to Spartanburg today to begin a week of practices for Saturday's Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star football game at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium.
• BOB: Indian Land's Bob LeRoy is in his 34th year teaching and coaching and is on contract as a critical-needs teacher.
LeRoy has completed the state's T.E.R.I. retirement plan and teaches government, economics and placement U.S. history. He is a former varsity boys basketball coach at the school, but has stayed on in football.
This week at Myrtle Beach, LeRoy is one of two coaches on the North team selected as longtime assistants. The positions allow assistants to participate in the game, a right formerly reserved for head coaches. The other is Newberry's Bill Harvey.
"I'm biased, but I think it's great they decided several years ago to do this,'' LeRoy said. "There are a lot of assistants across the state that have been coaching for years. If the old system was in place, none of us would get the opportunity to come here.''
LeRoy is coaching special teams. He coaches offense at Indian Land.
"Yeah, special teams,'' LeRoy said with a grin on his face. "If we mess up, there's only one of me and I'm the scapegoat.''
• NO CHADS: The votes are in.
Late Thursday, players from each team cast their ballots for captains. When the escorts tallied them Friday, the North players chose Allen Smith, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from Keenan, and Greenville's Arterio Arnold, a 6-3, 285-pound defensive lineman.
The South picked Myrtle Beach's Eddie Jones, a 5-8, 165-pound running back, and Colleton County's Byron Jerideau, a 6-3, 325-pound defensive lineman.
The winners of the Doug Shaw Scholarship were also announced. The North recipient is Whitmire's Michael Ruff, a 5-9, 165-pound running back/quarterback. Silver Bluff's Joseph Carter, a 6-4, 230-pound tight end, was the South's selection.
• RECORD?: Nobody is certain, but a third Hillary brother is playing for the South and several people associated with the game believe it's the first time that has happened.
This year's selection is Aramis Hillary, a 6-2, 210-pound quarterback from Strom Thurmond. He has committed to play next season at South Carolina.
"I don't think they are planning on switching me to another position,'' he said. "All we've talked about is quarterback and that's where I want to play in college.''
Could be a logjam and a switch might work out best. USC redshirted Stephen Garcia this season and has a commitment from Summerville quarterback Reid McCollum. Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher return after each shared the job with Blake Mitchell.
Maybe those guys will have to switch. Hillary said he couldn't hit the numbers on the head but passed for around 2,350 yards this year, ran for more than 1,000 and scored 34 touchdowns.
His brother Antwon played in the 2000 game and ended up at Catawba College. CoCo played in the 2005 game and is a wide receiver at Appalachian State.
"My dad's brother, uncle Ira, played at South Carolina and for the Cincinnati Bengals,'' he said. "Football runs in our family.''
• CLASS A: North coach Ron Blackmon is the coach at North Central, a member of Region 3-A along with Lewisville, Great Falls, Indian Land, McBee and Chesterfield.
Blackmon and his staff chose players from four Region 3-A teams, and counting LeRoy, five of the teams are represented. The only team without a player or coach? Chesterfield, which won the Class A Division I state championship.